Along with my husband Michael, we have lived in Oshawa for over 25 years and are the proud parents of three wonderful daughters. During this time, I was re-elected four times as Regional Councillor and served as Chair of Oshawa’s Development Services Committee, Vice-Chair of the Health and Social Services Committee at Durham Region and Chair of Durham Housing Authority.
I championed the transformation of the long vacant office building at Centre and Bond into the first new condominiums developed since 1977. This was the first major contemporary investment into our downtown, even prior to building the arena and put a halt to decades of deterioration in our City’s core.
Committed to maintaining our built heritage legacy, I interceded and initiated the heritage designation of the Regent Theatre to save it from demolition. As a Co-Chair of the Regent Theatre Committee, I continued working to repurpose the downtown theatre with Folk Arts Committee and other community members. The Regent has become an integral part of the new downtown UOIT campus. As Chair of Heritage Oshawa, I also worked with UOIT on the successful repurposing of the Alger Press Building on Charles St. next to the Tribute Centre.
As Chair of Operational Services Committee, I led the introduction of the Green Bin Organics pick up in Oshawa. I served as Vice-Chair of the Health and Social Services Committee at Durham Region and was Chair of Durham Housing Authority.
Currently I am Vice-President Community Development at General Discovery, an international trade company working on a sustainable organic agriculture project in Jamaica.
Fixing Oshawa City Hall - What a Mess
Experienced Councillors are an asset to the City. I have 12 years of experience as a Regional Councillor. I know how to get the job done, plus I have the insight that time away from Council gives; with your vote, I am willing to challenge the status quo.
Does it make sense to fire the person you hired to give you advice on keeping your taxes down? The City did just that! The City’s new works depot was one of the largest expenditures in the past 20 years. The Auditor General wrote a report to Council criticizing them for:
Overspending almost $1 Million on the depot property;
Purchasing a property where the existing building didn’t suit the depot requirements
The high cost of renovations to the existing building on the new property
Not doing any analysis to determine whether all operational services should be kept in-house or contracted out.
Firing the Auditor-General
When the Auditor’s report came before Council, there was no debate at all and instead Council voted in favour of a pre-prepared motion that did not renew the Auditor General’s contract. Council also voted to eliminate the Auditor General position entirely.
I actively opposed Council on the firing of the Auditor General and along with other community members, organized protests and spoke at Council several times. The Council’s decision to fire the Auditor General was distressing to me and was one of the reasons I decided to run in the election to return to Council.
Accountability and Transparency - Citizens Seeking Answers
Citizens seeking answers from their Council about the firing of the Auditor General and the purchase of 199 Wentworth Street for the depot were ignored. Residents were forced to apply through the Freedom of Information Act to get documents related to this issue. Over several years, these requests were refused. Residents then went to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario, who reviewed their request and ordered the City of Oshawa to release the 5,000 pages of documents the residents had requested. The City committed to release the documents on August 23rd, however only 93 pages of the 5,000 ordered by the IPC were released. Should citizens have to go to the province to get transparency and accountability from their City Council?
Note: There is an ongoing police investigation into this matter. The City has handed over 26 boxes of documents to Durham Regional Police Service for the ongoing related police investigation about the works depot.
Cost to the City
The City has broken the intent of the Municipal Freedom of Information Act by not releasing information to the public. How much will this trail of secrecy and settlements and litigation affect our taxes? We don’t know!
Residential taxes in Oshawa are among the highest in the province. I believe we need to reinstate the position of Auditor General to restore financial responsibility and I will move immediately to have Council fill this position.